Scam? Well... I know what you mean; us savvy gamers can surely find all the ROMs these guys are renting, and get them for free.
What these guys can do, if they do things right, is market their service to the mass public. It's an interesting business model, and something that I think has a chance of surviving in the courts.
Think about it: In the USA, we can walk into Blockbuster and legally rent a game owned by Blockbuster. It's legal, because Blockbuster has purchased a copy of the game, and I would assume, a license from the publisher to rent the game out.
What these guys are doing is pretty much the same thing, only the rental is done electronically. Each ROM rented out represents one actual physical cartridge in their posession. I'm unsure of what licensing fees were tacked onto physical cartridges meant for the rental market, but if these cartridges were purchased in that manner, I believe that it could be successfully argued in the courts that this business model is fair!
I believe we're going to see the internet (the web at least) become gradually less and less 'free', in terms of entertainment media content (probably all forms of media content eventually). And while we may not see Console Classix around in ten years, you can bet that someday, we'll see new companies working with the copyright holders of the old games people love so much, and serving them for profit to the public electronically. I can see it expanding to include the film industry and television, too. We can see it happening with music today.
I disagree with you about the pathetic part, Akira, because I admire anyone innovative and courageous enough to strike out in new directions. Many thought Henry Ford was just plain crazy, but now our world couldn't do without mechanized assembly lines.
I've had ideas similar to the one we're seeing with Console Classix, but my
efforts have been quite pathetic